Days 3 & 4
Lava Spring to Walnut Lake Trail Junction – 15.1 miles
Walupt Lake Junction to Sheep Lake – 4.7 miles
My next twenty miles were a lot less exciting than the first twenty had been. I woke up at Lava Spring camp to an incredibly warm morning. It was going to be a long hot day on trail with few opportunities to get fresh water.
My first eight miles followed alongside the Yakima Indian Reservation Boundary between the Mount Adams Wilderness and the Goat Rocks Wilderness. I hiked through a young third-growth forest in the early morning and crossed a few forestry roads. The forest got a bit thicker as the trail started to climb and I passed by a collection of small lakes and ponds.
I crossed into the Goat Rocks Wilderness about mid-day. From there the trail climbed to reach the summit of a butte with some nice views north of Walupt Lake and the peaks of Goat Rocks. My last five miles were a boring descent to reach a trail junction and my campsite for the night.
I found a small camping area near a pond along the side trail. I set up camp and enjoyed a bit of time relaxing in my tent, watching the light clouds in the sky above. Surprisingly the clouds became thicker, and thicker still. There was a light drizzle falling by the time I was making my dinner. I tucked myself into my tent a bit early and listened as rain started to fall in earnest. It was a surprising change in weather, but the rain would provide some much-needed relief to the dry landscape.
The next morning I woke up to cool, damp conditions. It had stopped raining but the clouds were low and thick. I decided to stick with my original plan of hiking to Sheep Lake, about five miles away and an easy 800-foot climb. I’d set up camp there and relax for the rest of the day.
The wind picked up about half-way through my climb and I started to get the occasional glimpse of the valley below me. Looking up the ridge I could see the clouds thinning near the peaks. By the time I made it to Sheep Lake the sun was peeking out and there was lots more blue sky. I was relieved because I hadn’t really wanted to hole up in my tent on my rest day.
I found a nice site amongst some trees to help cut the wind. The day stayed cool and windy but Sheep Lake was a beautiful spot to relax. I wandered south along Nannie Ridge to find another great view of Mount Adams. I also spent some time chatting with overnight and day hikers who’d come up the side trail from Walupt Lake.
It was pretty cold as I settled into my tent that night but I was hopeful that the weather would be better the next day as I hiked high along the Goat Rocks ridges.